This is Jacob Copeland. He's a talented kid who played football at Escambia High in Pensacola, Florida.
Yesterday, with bright lights from cameras and national media huddled around him and his family, Copeland announced that he was going to play college football at the University of Florida.
His mother, sitting alongside him surrounded by other members of the family, reacted to her son's decision as any proud mother would.... she grabbed her purse, stood up from her seat not more than a foot away from him and walked out.
On national television. For the entire world to see.
I know a little bit about being disappointed when parents fail to live up to our expectations of them.
I know something about seeking and wanting the approval of those closest to you when making life-altering decisions.
I know absolutely nothing about what that moment means to a kid who's having those decisions played out in front of a national television audience. When those expectations turn into disappointments and when you're suddenly abandoned by the one person who isn't supposed to walk away from you.
I don't know all of the backstory behind this decision made by Copeland. But in the image captured above from video of the announcement, the young man is surrounded by people (friends, family, etc.) who almost appear to believe Copeland was going to choose Alabama or Tennessee.
This is what I detest the most about national signing day, and it's not an original story. We saw it in 2012 when Landon Collins when chose to attend Alabama and his mother repeatedly fawned over LSU. We saw it in 2014 when Gerald Willis III chose to attend Florida while his mother looked on with disdain, telling reporters, "It is what it is... but LSU is still number one."
But neither of those mothers walked out on their sons.
No matter what Copeland does the rest of his career, no matter the accolades, the money, the success, the failures, the awards.... No matter what he does, there will always be this moment, forever etched in his mind of the day he let his mother down.
That look on her face, she knows what her son is capable of doing. She's driven him to football camps, sacrificed hours and days and weeks and months and years doing what she could so her son could have a better life for himself. She made those hard choices and then at what should be another of those important moments in both their lives, she chose to make herself the story and walk across his stage, right in front of him and all the while taking the spotlight for herself and making his moment about her abandonment.
For the record, mom did return. Mom came back several minutes later to embrace her crying son as he stood in front of hundreds of supporters.
I'm certain there are a number of stories that encompass this tale. I'm sure there were promises made by recruiters from all three schools which were represented by hats on the table in front of Copeland and by the garb worn by almost everyone around the highly recruited wide receiver.
I simply don't care. This isn't about mom. This is about every kid who simply wanted to make their parents proud. This is about every kid who had the intention of growing up to be the kind of adult their parents would take pride in, and this is about every kid who watched that most influential person stare at you with disdain before stepping away from everything you've tried to achieve.
I hope Jacob Copeland has a great career in Gainesville. I hope he'll go on to be a success in whatever he does for the rest of his life. And I hope he'll be able to eventually not let that one moment stain his achievements or cloud his judgement.
Sometimes it takes just one shot
NBA action last night and another highlight reel moment for LeBron James could potentially spark a turnaround for the Cavaliers.
James’ fadeaway jumper as the buzzer sounded at the end of overtime lifted Cleveland to a 140-138 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. James had a triple double on the night with 37 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds for the Cavs, who had suffered double-digit losses in three of their last four.
Other NBA action saw Detroit win their fifth straight, 115-106 over Brooklyn and San Antonio beat up on Phoenix 129-81.
There's Trouble in Indy
More fallout from Josh McDaniels’ decision to turn down the head coaching job in Indianapolis in favor of staying on in New England.
Reports indicate McDaniels decision to stay with the Patriots may be related to how long current head coach Bill Belichick stays with the team, leaving McDaniels essentially the head coach in waiting.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard criticized the move yesterday, saying he was disappointed and surprised.
"It doesn't always work out or go the way we mapped it out or planned it. But it's the mentally tough, gritty people that overcome these things that are successful."
According to ESPN, the Colts were so confident that McDaniels would be their next coach that they announced they had agreed to a deal with him on Tuesday and had scheduled a news conference to introduce him on Wednesday afternoon.
McDaniels' agent, Bob LaMonte, was stunned Tuesday when McDaniels informed him that he would not accept the Colts job, a source told Graziano. When McDaniels told him he was staying in New England, LaMonte replied that McDaniels was "committing professional suicide," according to the source.
Reportedly later that same day, LaMonte, who also represents Ballard, announced he would no longer representing McDaniels, telling the Sports Business Journal, ""My word is my bond. Once you break that, there's nothing left."